At times like this, when you tell someone you’re a university careers adviser, people tend to give you that “head to one side, sympathy look”, and talk about how tough that must be, what with there being no graduate jobs around.
Oddly, they generally look a bit disappointed when you point out that, although it’s not an easy job market, it’s not quite as bad as the press might have you believe.
I know I keep banging on about this, so here’s another view from my colleague, Karen Butterworth, written for the Undergraduate Careers Blog last week. Karen joined us a couple of years ago from a major recruitment agency so she had recent first hand recruitment experience:
“There Are Still Jobs Out There!
You may have read in the press recently that, accordingly to the Association of Graduate Recruiters, there are now 83 applications for every graduate vacancy. Woah, pretty scary? Supposedly, even more doom in an already gloomy sounding graduate job market.
Is there any point bothering to apply? (Surely it’s going to be impossible to get an interview, let alone a good job at the end of it)
Is there even any point looking for jobs? (There’s obviously so few out there)
Are there any jobs that are not as competitive?
The answer to these questions is Yes, Yes, Yes! There are still jobs out there and it is definitely still worth applying. Don’t read too much into what you read in the papers….it’s usually only half the story.
Let’s get the facts straight…
Yes, there may be 83 applications for every vacancy but this statistic is based on only 202 Association of Graduate Recruiters member organisations. AGR members tend to be the larger multinational companies that offer your typical ‘graduate’ scheme. The figure doesn’t take into account thousands of other companies, both large and small, that are currently offering opportunities for graduates.
Take a recent advert here at the Careers Service.
Camelot (The National Lottery people) were looking for 3 graduates to work as Retail Sales Executives. The pay was great at £23,000 and all positions were based locally in the North West. The role gave the opportunity to progress quickly through the company into National Accounts, Field Sales Management or Head Office Marketing.
Sounded like a great role, yet there were a grand total of zero applications from Manchester students. And this is not a one off – there have been a number of great jobs we have advertised recently that received a really low number of applications.
As of today, we have 485 full time vacancies advertised on CareersLink . Take a look – you might be surprised what you find. Ok, they may not all be with multinational companies and with brands that you’re familiar with, but that doesn’t mean that the role will be any less rewarding or you will be any less successful. You can improve your odds of success further by being a little more flexible. If it’s not your ‘dream’ job or the salary and location are not ideal, consider whether the role will help you to get to where you want to be longer term. If the answers’ yes, go for it! (I would put money on that most vacancies on CareersLink will not have 83 applications per position!)
It’s also worth mentioning that I can be 99% certain ( and I can say this because I used to be a recruiter and am used to sifting through CVs & application forms ) that over half of these 83 applications would probably be screened out straight away by recruiters because of silly errors such as poor spelling and grammar or not filling out all the sections correctly. Get yours right and suddenly 41-ish applications per vacancy becomes a little less scary.
You may also be surprised to hear that 26% of AGR recruiters in 2010 did not fill all their vacancies. This wasn’t because there were not enough applications (as we’ve already seen they receive plenty!), but was because the quality of the applications & candidates did not meet the required standard.
Therefore, if you take the time out to put together a good application and use your free time wisely at university ( to get at least one or two decent achievements/activities to put in your application) you are in with a good chance of getting to the interview stage. Completing application forms well is not easy but use the Careers Service for help and make sure you get it right first time.
So, if you’re a recent graduate (or postgraduate) or heading into your final year, please don’t panic. Please don’t believe everything you read, there are still jobs out there but you’ve got to be in it to win it!
By the way, for those of you interested in accounting, Deloitte and KPMG have now opened their applications for 2012 start! Get your applications in quick (early applications impress employers).”